Every so often throughout the offseason, UZ will write a piece about a storyline from the now or from the previous season. Perhaps it was something that didn't warrant much discussion during the regular season or playoffs or maybe a previously uncovered story. Basically, just offseason thoughts.
Going back and looking at the knee-jerk reactions after the not-exactly-blockbuster trade at the deadline that Colorado pulled to get Macoumba Kandji from the New York Red Bulls for Mehdi Ballouchy, you'd think that New York was going to be the team that eventually pulled off the win in the cup finals. Most NYRB fans seemed to buy into the Ballouchy hype, saying he was truly the final piece in the already potent New York team. Indeed, even Ballouchy haters like myself conceded before the trade had gone through that his failures in Colorado may have been more due to his limitations being used 'out of position' in Colorado's staunch 4-4-2 and 4-5-1 formations than a lack of talent.
Ballouchy's scoring of his first NYRB goal almost immediately after joining the team looked to only further the idea.In fact, I heard from some Rapids fans that 'when Mehdi scores the goal on the Rapids that knocks us out of the playoffs, you'll be sorry'. The other Mehdi Ballouchy haters and myself stood strong on the issue, and for good reason - Mac was making some plays of his own. Brian Mullan had also come in and not only adequately replaced Mehdi but completely blown him out of the water. Defensively and offensively, Mullan was playing head and shoulders above his counterpart.
In the playoffs, faced up against a relatively easy looking San Jose Earthquakes team, the Red Bulls looked poised and ready to get to the semifinals. Mehdi choked on two very easy shots against Jon Busch in the first leg but the Bulls won anyway. Unfortunately, the pattern would continue as down 3-1 against the Earthquakes and needing a goal at home to tie up the aggregate, Mehdi was stoned literally inches away from the net by the leg of Jon Busch. Meanwhile, Macoumba Kandji was setting up the final game winning goal late in extra time of the MLS Cup Finals.
If that's not winning a trade, I don't know what is.